14 Amazing Pride Parades Around the World
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If the month of June is synonymous with Pride celebrations around the world, that has less to do with sunshine and beach-friendly weather than history. After all, it was the Stonewall riots in late June 1969 in New York City’s Greenwich Village that kicked off the modern gay rights movement in the US — and by extension (though it would take some time) around the world.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of this revolution.
As for Pride, what started out as a purely social and political happening has, over the years, become a mix of parade, party and rally. And the Pride events have increasingly become a tourist draw, not just in New York, but in cities around the country and the globe that took their cues from the Big Apple.
“As Pride events have evolved into larger festivals, often lasting multiple days, they’ve become a magnet for travellers who want to connect with LGBTQ communities around the world and experience their celebrations,” International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association President and CEO John Tanzella told The Points Guy. “Scheduling a trip around Pride is an easy way to find like-minded people, even in places that don’t have many year-round LGBTQ offerings.”
The social dimension is still there, of course, and varies by location. But in addition to calling attention to the LGBTQ community’s ongoing struggle for equal rights, Pride is also a time to celebrate diversity, difference and tolerance.
In 2019, approximately 150 official Pride festivals and events will take place around the world. To help you plan your gay getaway, we zeroed in on events happening during Pride Month and the five months following (events in cities such as Sydney and Cape Town have already taken place).
We’ve included the granddaddy of them all, NYC Pride — which, this year, is hosting WorldPride — and turned a spotlight on some surprising, up-and-coming cities just beginning to generate buzz. In recent years, for example, some Pride celebrations overseas have come to great prominence — Madrid Orgullo and Tel Aviv Pride among them.
That said, being in just about any city during its Pride festivities can be rewarding. Whether you’re a part of the LGBTQ community or not, there is something special about watching a city come together to celebrate love and (naturally) pride. Consider this a small but significant rainbow-colored slice of the global Pride pie.
Tel Aviv Pride in Israel
Tel Aviv Pride (June 9 to June 15) is the biggest celebration of the LGBTQ community in the Middle East. Beyond that, it’s arguably Tel Aviv’s best party of the year, regardless of sexual orientation. Tel Aviv is something of a refuge for LGBTQ locals and travelers in the region, and the city’s main gay nightclubs all have big parties during Pride week (cover charges vary). The main parade takes place on June 14, culminating with an afternoon blowout party by the beach. Men in Tel Aviv tend to take pride not only in their equal rights, but also in their chiseled bods (plus, Israel is pretty hot in June) so expect to see those T-shirts flying.
Where to Stay: If you book a room at the Hilton Tel Aviv, you will be staying above Tel Aviv’s semi-official gay beach, Hilton Beach. Rooms are going for $484, or 70,000 points per night, during the festival. The city is small, but if you want to stay closer to the Pride party itself at Charles Clore Park (toward the Jaffa end of the seaside promenade), the InterContinental David Tel Aviv is also a smart bet. Or rock out in luxe Levantine style at The Jaffa hotel. Rooms are going for $436 or 70,000 points per night during the festival.
Capital Pride in Washington, DC
The United States capital is not just the home of political discourse and cherry blossoms: it also has a thriving LGBTQ scene. Admittedly, it’s more laid-back than Gotham, but the Capital Pride events might surprise you with their variety and verve. This year’s theme is “Past, Present & Proud.” Riot! The Pride Opening Party, is a ticketed event (the name is a reference to Stonewall) that takes place Friday night while the Capital Pride Parade takes place on Saturday, June 8.
Where to Stay: Marriott International is the National Presenting Sponsor of the Capital Pride Parade, and participating JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance and Marriott properties are offering a District Pride Package.
Zürich Pride in Switzerland
Gay-friendly Zürich, who knew? (Okay, we did.) If you’re looking for a well-organized Pride with plenty of music and good, clean fun — and the very real possibility of bumping into some of the most eligible gay hedge fund managers anywhere on Earth — then you can bank on Zürich, Switzerland’s largest city, during Zürich Pride. This year’s Pride, themed “Strong in Diversity,” is the city’s 25th, and culminates on June 15 and 16 with the official Zürich Pride Party.
Where to Stay: The Zürich Pride Festival’s partner hotels include the Renaissance Zürich Tower Hotel, Hilton Zurich Airport hotel and Platzhirsch Hotel.
Thessaloniki Pride in Greece
No one’s going to argue that Pride bashes are almost always seeking ways to be bigger, bolder and more outrageous (case in point: New York City). But there are interesting things happening in smaller cities, too. Though Thessaloniki isn’t exactly petite, as it is the second largest city in Greece after Athens, its small but earnest Pride parade on June 22 is worth the detour if you happen to be in Greece this month. (Travel partner Aegean Airlines runs numerous daily flights between Athens and Thessaloniki, making it an especially easy side trip.) Thessaloniki’s first Pride was in 2012 and it has grown to become the city’s most popular human rights-related event.
Where to Stay: While the Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki is not a partner hotel for Pride, the brand has a solid reputation as LGBTQ-friendly, and award nights cost just 8,000 points. This year’s partner hotels include Hotel Kinissi Palace, Capsis Hotel and the quirky Blue Bottle Hotel.
NYC Pride in New York
New York City has a special connection to Pride events all over the world, because the modern gay rights movement took off in the Big Apple in June of 1969. That’s when police raided the Stonewall Inn gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, setting in motion riots and demonstrations in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. This year’s events will feature the first WorldPride in the US, with Whoopi Goldberg hosting the opening ceremony on June 26 and Cyndi Lauper and Chaka Khan performing. The actual Pride march will be held on Sunday, June 30. Tickets to Pride events in New York City such as Pride Island — where Grace Jones headlines on June 29 — tend to sell out fast.
Where to Stay: This year, Hyatt is a Platinum Sponsor of NYC Pride. Use your World of Hyatt points to stay at the Grand Hyatt New York or Hyatt Herald Square New York, which both recently decreased in award cost. You can also splash out at the Andaz 5th Avenue on East 41st or The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel. Both are Category 6 properties costing 25,000 points per night. Hyatts all over the city, including the Park Hyatt and the Hyatt Centric Times Square, are also offering Pride-inspired art activations, Pride-themed cocktails and special packages for travelers.
Madrid Orgullo in Spain
In recent years, European gays have flocked to Madrid for its high-octane Pride events, which this year stretch from June 28 until July 7. Kobi Hayat, an Israeli computer technology professional (and bonafide Madrid Pride aficionado), describes it like this: “Madrid Pride is seriously awesome because, corny as it sounds, it represents the essence of freedom that the city radiates all year round.” Orgullo is Spanish for pride, and this exuberant celebration of the LGBTQ community includes a full roster of outdoor parties and concerts in the Chueca gayborhood. Madrid Orgullo’s Pride Parade, passing along the Paseo del Prado, falls on July 6, with a closing party the following day.
Where to Stay: While Madrid has plenty of boutique hotel options, consider splashing out for the Westin Palace Madrid. Award nights cost 50,000 during festival dates.
Mexico City Pride in Mexico
Mexico City knows how to throw a party. This year’s Pride parade, now in its 41st year, takes place on Saturday, June 29, starting at the Monumento a la Independencia (El Ángel) and ending with a fiesta in the big central square, the Zócalo. Known locally as Marcha Del Orgullo LGBTTTI, the is expected to draw upwards of 250,000 revelers.
Where to Stay: Opt for a small hotel in the Zona Rosa, or go for something grander such as the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City, located on the Paseo de la Reforma.
Pride in London, England
There’s no guarantee you’ll see either Meghan Markle or the sun during Pride in London‘s parade on Saturday, July 6, passing along iconic spots like Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street and Trafalgar Square. But the stomping ground of Oscar Wilde and Boy George knows how to put on a great show, rain or shine, with free performances plenty of club events to keep night owls on their perches until the wee hours. It’s a great time to soak up the vibe at legendary London gay nightspots such as Heaven and G-A-Y Bar. Special events in the run-up to the Pride parade include a Pride in London 10K Run in Hyde Park on June 9, the Pride’s Got Talent Music Final (June 9 to 10), a “Trans* in Tech—Driving for Authenticity” evening lecture (June 19), special concert performances and more.
Where to Stay: Treat yourself like a Queen at the Mayfair, a Radisson Collection Hotel that’s offering a 10% discount during Pride — enough to make its ridiculously pink Schiaparelli Suite a wee bit more affordable. The same discount can be scored at the Radisson Blu Edwardian.
San Diego Pride in California
As a native Californian, I can take the heat I know the following statement will engender: San Francisco’s Gay Pride may carry more cultural cargo and LA Pride in West Hollywood may be more glamorous, but San Diego’s Pride could very well be California’s most fun party. From July 12 to July 14 the city goes all-out, starting with a Spirit of Stonewall Rally on July 12. The San Diego Pride Festival happens July 13. Before or after the festivities, check out the up-and-coming, very LGBTQ-friendly Little Italy neighborhood. Or just grab a surfboard and hit the waves.
Where to Stay: The Hyatt Grand Manchester San Diego is a Rainbow Partner hotel for San Diego Pride, with award nights available near the parade date for 21,000 points, as is the Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton property (for a whopping 95,000 points per night).
Berlin Pride in Germany
When it comes to Pride celebrations in Europe, for many folks bigger is better and that brings us to Berlin. The German capital’s Pride — technically called Christopher Street Day in homage to the Stonewall riots and New York City’s key role in the gay rights movement — attracts up to half a million people who follow the parade route. While there are Pride events taking place throughout the month of July (such as the CSD on the Spree party on July 25), the CSD Parade and official Pride Festival CSD Party take place on July 27. The parade starts at 12:30pm on Kurfürstendamm and Joachimsthaler Straße and ends at the Brandenburg Gate, with no shortage of music and dancing along the way.
Amsterdam Gay Pride in the Netherlands
You have to figure if the Pilgrims ditched Amsterdam because it was too sinful for their tastes, the city has to be doing something right — right? It’s no secret that Amsterdam knows how to have a good time, but its Pride has sometimes played second fiddle to better known events in burgs like, well, Berlin. Yet the city’s Gay Pride festivities, which start July 27 and culminate on August 2, 3 and 4, are finally getting the attention they deserve. Pride-goers can expect street parties and DJs galore, as well as the now iconic Canal Parade, which floats its way from Amstel to Prinsengracht. (It’s what gives Pride here a real Dutch touch.)
Where to Stay: Scoop up Hilton Honors points with a stay at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam (sadly, you can’t redeem them for a free night during Pride). You can, however, use 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for a stay at the W Amsterdam, or drop 25,000 World of Hyatt points for a night at the Category 6 Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht.
Reykjavík Pride in Iceland
Are you a friend of Björk? Well, you don’t have to own every existing remix from the Homogenic album to be eligible to enjoy this midsummer’s Pride, held this year from August 8 to August 17. This effervescent Icelandic celebration of diversity and solidarity has been held every year since 1999, and has ballooned into a 10-day celebration with a Pride parade, so-called bubbly brunch, an official Pride party, a Drag-Súgar drag “extravaganza” and a queer literature walking tour.
Where to Stay: The Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is a solid bet with a winning location in the center of town, and there are still award nights available for 70,000 points.
Taiwan Pride in Taipei
In any given year, Taiwan Pride in Taipei is billed as Asia’s biggest LGBTQ event — but this year, there’s even more to celebrate because in May, Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill endorsing same sex marriage. Tens of thousands of revelers are expected to attend the Pride parade on Saturday, Oct. 26 in the Zhongzheng District. In addition to the main parade, expect plenty of special events and after-parties. According to a Taipei gay guide, the capital’s “Red House district is home to more than 25 different gay bars, shops and restaurants.”
Where to Stay: Stay at the W Taipei in the central business district (from 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night) and you won’t have far to go for one of the gay rooftop pool parties planned during Taiwan Pride.
Palm Springs Pride in California
Palm Springs Pride may well be the last event on the North American Pride calendar, but in early November the Coachella Valley is still one of the warmest places in the country. Speaking of warmth, Palm Springs is one of the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the world. Time your trip for the Pride parade down Palm Canyon Drive on Sunday, Nov. 3. And for detractors who say Palm Springs has no beach, I’ve got two words for you: pool party! (Yes, even in November.)
Where to Stay: While there are some newish name brand hotels in Palm Springs’ small downtown, you might consider rocking a vintage desert vibe by booking a stay at a smaller LGBT-friendly inn like Escape Resort or Santiago Resort.
Feature image by Anthony Devlin – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images.
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